Developed by Steve Blackman and Gerard Way for Netflix, The Umbrella Academy is an American superhero television series that has stolen many hearts since its first season release in 2019. The plot revolves around a dysfunctional family of adopted superhero siblings, whose characters are played by many accomplished actors, such as Elliot Page, Robert Sheehan, and Tom Hopper. Since the introduction of new characters in Season 3, many fans have been wondering; could it be? Is Mark Ruffalo actually in The Umbrella Academy, playing Alphonso Hargreeves?!
Many fans were dismayed upon realizing that Mark Ruffalo is not starring in The Umbrella Academy. Although the resemblance is uncanny, the role of Alphonso Hargreeve actually belongs to Jake Epstein.
It’s obvious that the mysterious abilities of the Sparrow’s Academy Number 4 are not the only thing that has been confusing the fans. If you’re dying to find out more about the whole Alphonso Hargreeves confusion, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to debunk which actor is actually playing Alphonso’s role and explain Number 4’s overall personality and abilities. So, let’s dive right into it!
Who exactly is playing Alphonso Hargreeves?
The exciting addition to The Umbrella Academy’s newest season is a 35-year-old Canadian actor, singer, and writer – Jake Epstein. Even though he is somewhat unrecognizable in this role, this isn’t his first rodeo; on the contrary, Epstein has starred in many other hit shows, such as Suits, Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Designated Survivor. He has also appeared on Broadway as Peter Paker in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
We get the confusion, though. Mark Ruffalo is a three-time Oscar nominee, who gained international recognition for playing Bruce Banner (yes, Hulk!) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It would definitely make sense if the producers of The Umbrella Academy decided to hire him instead, especially since the whole plot of the series revolves around mysterious superheroes.
A little bit about The Sparrows
In the first episode of the third season, we meet all of the Hargreeves’ other children. There’s Marcus (Number 1), Ben (Number 2), Fei (Number 3), Alphonso (Number 4), Sloane (Number 5), Jayme (Number 6), and Christopher (Number 7). The Sparrow Academy is almost identical to the Umbrella Academy, but built with what Reginald thought to be a better set of children.
But, why do the Sparrows even exist in the new timeline of The Umbrella Academy? Well, it all boils down to the worst father TV shows have ever seen, and the larger secret he tried to hide. It seems like in this timeline, Reginald trained the Sparrows all too well; the kids eventually outsmarted him and began to treat him like a prisoner. And, due to a change in the timeline, now they’re coming for The Umbrella Academy crew, too, as both superhero teams now exist in the same universe.
Alphonso Hargreeves – No. 4 in The Sparrow Academy
Introduced in Season 3 of The Umbrella Academy, Alphonso Hargreeves is one of the 16 super-powered babies born on October 1, 1989. His other aliases include Number Four, Tough Guy, and Tubby. Due to his heavily scarred and deformed face, Diego also refers to him as a “blob”. The number he is designated to carry would essentially make him the Sparrows’ equivalent of Klaus. Although there is a total of 43 super-powered children, in the Sparrow Timeline only 16 of such children were born. Sir Reginald Hargreeves adopted 7 of them, and Alphonso is among them.
Despite the fact that there are some truly bizarre superpowers in the series, Alphonso possesses one of the strangest power; Empathetic Masochism. So, what exactly does this mean?
In other words, Alphonso’s superpower basically makes him the ultimate human voodoo doll. As we could see in the first episode, his power is demonstrated when Allison tries to punch him in the face, only to feel it herself. Upon being punched, Alphonso’s body sent the kinetic energy to recoil back from where it came – down into Allison’s arm, and straight onto her face. He also has the ability to inflict pain on others by causing damage to his own body. The power does require a lot of effort and stamina, though.
Moreover, his second power is Enhanced Resilience. Due to his power and unique physiology, Alphonso has an enormous amount of resistance to damage. This allows him to inflict more harm on his enemies than on himself, but there seems to be a limit to his defenses (for example, we can see his chin chipping off from Diego’s kick in another fight scene). If he’s too tired or panting, an opponent could hurt him without being hurt himself. It seems like Alphonso must consciously active his power for it to function as a shield, otherwise, it doesn’t really work. Oh, and did we mention he has asthma?
What about his other abilities and overall personality?
Alphonso is, just like his siblings, an extraordinary fighter. He is way more treacherous, though. Although he lacks speed and agility, he oftentimes uses his power to knock opponents down before stomping on them. According to Netflix Geeked’s Twitter, Alphonso is a “scarred crime-fighter with a caustic and biting sense of humor who enjoys verbally berating his enemies, almost as much as he enjoys a good pizza and a six-pack of beer.” He is often seen eating, and also doesn’t seem to be picky about his food choices. As far as his family relations go, Alphonso appeared to be really close to Jayme; both of them showed great concern for one another, and could often be seen together.
In the end, Alphonso faces an inevitable death. After Viktor (Number 7) knocks him down flying with an energy outburst during the battle, Harlan’s bigger wave ultimately kills him. It is unclear whether his powers were useless against sonic attacks, or if the attacks were just too great to counter, especially with him being tired and needing his asthma inhaler. Some fans even speculate whether his defense abilities only applied to physical attacks, leaving him unable to defend himself against sonic and psychic attacks.